Staff Profile: Kanny Ka Kei Wan

Kanny Wan, Ph.D.

Research Scientist (Chemistry)

Division of Preclinical Innovation
Early Translation Branch (Contractor)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Kanny Wan


Kanny Wan joined NIH in 2017 and now serves as a medicinal chemistry research scientist at NCATS. Her work focuses on optimizing high-throughput screening hits and developing them into molecular probes that can interrogate disease-relevant biological targets and pathways. As part of an interdisciplinary project team, she works on projects in oncology, infectious diseases and neurology, as well as projects involving natural products and rare diseases.

Wan received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College. She received her doctorate in organic chemistry from the Scripps Research Institute, under the guidance of Professor Ryan Shenvi, with a focus on the synthesis of a family of cytotoxic marine alkaloids and the development of a thermodynamic hydrogenation method via hydrogen atom transfer. Upon completion of her degree, Wan served on the faculty at De Anza College and Washington College prior to joining the NIH.

Research Topics

Wan enjoys working in the highly collaborative, interdisciplinary environment that NCATS facilitates, and she appreciates the opportunity to work with and mentor NIH Intramural Research Training Award interns. She is interested in synthesizing and optimizing small-molecule probes to be used in proof-of-concept animal models and facilitating novel biological discovery, particularly in areas with unmet medical needs. She also is interested in harnessing the medicinal potential of natural products to accelerate therapeutics development. Wan currently is engaged in developing preclinical small-molecule candidates in autophagy, Alzheimer’s disease, dystonia, kinases and infectious diseases.

Selected Publications

  1. Canvass: A Crowd-Sourced, Natural-Product Screening Library for Exploring Biological Space
  2. Identification, design and synthesis of novel pyrazolopyridine influenza virus nonstructural protein 1 antagonists
  3. Nitrosopurines en route to potently cytotoxic asmarines
  4. Simple, chemoselective hydrogenation with thermodynamic stereocontrol